The Closing of Pleasant View and “A Remarkable Visit,” Noted the New York Journal. June 25th, 1901

 

Mrs. Eddy did not envision the preservation of Pleasant View property as a monument. She provided in her will that it could be disposed of.

http://journal.christianscience.com/issues/1975/3/93-3/closing-of-pleasant-view-home

 

A “Sweet Memory” of a Special Day

Still bound with its original silk-tasseled cord, this handmade photo album bears the lovingly handwritten inscription “Pleasant View June 25th 1901” on the cover. Longyear Museum collection.

 

Ivy hanging off white-washed balconies; children running through fields of grass; women taking refuge from the blazing sun beneath large hats — these are among the scenes depicted in a homemade photo album commemorating the gathering at Mary Baker Eddy’s invitation of some 3,000 Christian Scientists at Pleasant View on June 25, 1901. It’s unknown exactly who took the five photos in this charming album. It may have been Mr. W. G. C. Kimball, who advertised his wares in the September 1901 issue of The Christian Science Journal, or it may have been another professional photographer, or even an amateur.[1]

Dressed in her Sunday best, a young girl enjoys the day’s outing. Photograph, P3025-2, Longyear Museum collection.

As the photos in the album show, many in attendance carried dark-colored umbrellas to shield themselves from the heat, which would rise to 90 degrees that day. Here, while adults huddle in the gazebo out of reach of the scorching sun, the girl in the foreground appears to be wandering away — perhaps in search of another child to play with.

A large tree near the boathouse offers shelter. Photograph, P3025-3, Longyear Museum collection.

Was this photograph taken before Mrs. Eddy addressed the crowd or afterwards? It’s impossible to know at this point, but it’s clear that this group is enjoying the shade!

Rear view of Pleasant View. Photograph, P3025-4, Longyear Museum collection.

Promptly at 2 p.m., Mrs. Eddy would appear on the balcony outside her study window to address a crowd numbering “in excess of 3,000,”[2] according to one newspaper report. Her remarks were brief, pointing those in attendance back to her Communion message at The Mother Church on the previous Sunday.[3]

Wildflowers abound in the field near the Pleasant View pond, ripe for the gathering. Photograph, P3025-5, Longyear Museum collection.

The reflection of the visitors in the water hearkens back to a lovely tribute Mrs. Eddy wrote to her students in 1892 for their gift of the pond: “From my tower window, as I look on this smile of Christian Science, this gift from my students and their students, it will always mirror their love, loyalty, and good works.”[4]

Guests gather on the front lawn by the porte-cochère. Photograph, P3025-6, Longyear Museum collection.

The album concludes with this final image. All in all, it was “a remarkable visit,” noted the New York Journal. “At the close of the afternoon the three thousand visitors dispersed toward the various quarters of the globe with their faith in Christian Science strongly fortified.”[5]

Mary Baker Eddy’s invitation, noted the editors of The Christian Science Journal, “was a fitting conclusion of the Communion season. It will remain always a sweet memory to all who were present.”

https://www.longyear.org/exhibits-archives-media/historic-articles/1901-visit/sidebar


[1] “Photographic Views,” The Christian Science Journal 29 (Sept 1901): 366.

[2]
“The Pilgrimage to Concord,” Washington, D.C. Evening Times, June 26, 1901.

[3]
Mrs. Eddy would later explain to the New York Journal: “The brevity of my remarks was due to a desire on my part that the important sentiments uttered in my annual Message to the church last Sunday should not be confused with other issues, but should be emphasized in the minds of all present here in Concord.” (The First Church of Christ, Scientist, and Miscellany, 170).

[4]
Miscellaneous Writings, 203.

[5]
New York Journal, Sunday, July 7, 1901, reprinted in the Christian Science Sentinel 3 (Jul 18, 1901): 733.

[6]
“The Visit to Pleasant View,” The Christian Science Journal 29 (Jul 1901): 270.

 

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